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Learn from Helen

Helen Koker

Based in Byron Bay on the east coast of Australia, Helen Koker is an Art Director, Photographer, and Multi-Disciplinary Creative. Specializing in creating unique and captivating visual media, Helen’s work is highly refined and often minimal, striking a delicate balance between artful conceptualization and meticulous production. A sensitive approach to color and balance, along with specialized post-production techniques, allow Helen to exceed the bounds of traditional image-making and produce remarkable and engaging content.

What is your favorite type of project to work on?

My favourite projects are often personal ones - they don’t rely on budgets, deadlines, client approvals or preconceived notions of what the outcome should be. I love the feeling of just creating for the sake of it, taking whatever inspiration strikes in the moment and not worrying about the commercial viability.

With that said I am extremely fortunate to have some brilliant clients who allow me creative freedom and trust my instincts to guide their brand storytelling through the images I create - projects with clients like that are a dream.

How do you incorporate Moodelier pieces and other props into your workflow? Can you show us some photo examples?

In the conceptualisation and ideation phase I like to create a list of potential props that could work for the project and concept I’m working on. Often this includes pieces in my props library along with items that I will need to source, such as fresh botanicals or directional pieces that are very specific to the concept in mind.

When creating my sourcing list digitally, it’s always helpful to try to add deep-etched images of the props I want to use in a column to the side, being mindful to keep them in relative scale to each other - seeing everything together is a helpful way to cull ideas. Another visual aid I use in my workflow is quick shot mockups - these can either be done in editing software like Photoshop, or by sketching - in which case I use Procreate on an iPad Pro.

The Moodelier pieces themselves are a lot of fun to play with, and many times I will just pull them out and experiment with them in a scene, there are so many different styles, silhouettes, shapes, and scales within the collection that I can always find something that fits, or is an unexpected twist in the scene. Sometimes this type of spontaneity and “breaking up” of my usual process can lead to much more creative outcomes (and more fun!).

What are your enneagram types?

My Eneaggram type is 4w3, which can be summarised as intense, expressive, goal-oriented, productive, authentic, artistic, creative, competitive, hardworking, restless, and romantic. These words all feel quite true to me. I also score very high on the 2w3 wing type.

Who and what are your inspiration currently? Any apps and accounts that we should follow that have been helpful or inspiring for you?

This is a tricky one because my inspirations are so broad and variable. They can change with any given moment, but there are definitely a few that have been a constant in my heart for many years.

Tim Walker - his work is pure magic.

Peter Lindbergh - he always captured such beautiful emotion.

Irving Penn - there is a raw quality to his still life work and his use of colour is quite intriguing to me.

Nature is perhaps the biggest constant - always and forever. I often find time spent observing earth and all its splendour to be the most inspiring thing of all. Driving past a beautiful meadow, finding wildflowers, swimming in the ocean, listening to the gurgling creek, admiring the colour palette of springtime, the sparkly night sky, the way sunlight dapples through leaves. Our world is endlessly magnificent.

Some of my favourite creators to follow on social media are @carl.otsberg, @ameliajdowd, @oghalealex, @miloch_com, @teresacfreitas, fleurette, @oscarpiccilo & @dellostudio, as well as inspiration accounts like @visualpleasuremag and @all__minimal.

I also love looking on SightUnseen.com, perusing my local library, or exploring the reports on WGSN and LS:N Global.

The list goes on - there are so many incredibly talented people out there, and some brilliant design resources available. It’s so important to keep your eyes open, and not just look for inspiration from the industry we’re in, but across all types of industries, mediums, and design - interiors, graphics, typography, fashion, architecture, the natural realm - there is always more to see.

When creating my sourcing list digitally, it’s always helpful to try to add deep-etched images of the props I want to use in a column to the side, being mindful to keep them in relative scale to each other - seeing everything together...